MSc in Engineering: Profile Civil Engineering

As a Master of Science in Engineering with a specialisation in Civil Engineering, you will plan and realise buildings that will define our future living environments.

The focus of this specialisation is on structures, timber and composite construction, natural phenomena and geotechnics, hydraulic engineering, built environment and building physics, as well as traffic planning and traffic systems.

“Having time to consider a topic in greater depth is added value”. Sara Ruchti talks about her MSc in Engineering.

Start your studies in spring or in autumn.


  • Title/Degree Master of Science (MSc) in Engineering
  • Specialisations Civil Engineering
  • Mode of study Full-time (3 semesters)
    Part-time (7 semesters)
  • Start date Spring semester 19 February 2024
    Autumn semester 16 September 2024
  • Application deadline Spring semester 31 December 2023
    Autumn semester 31 July 2024
  • ECTS credits 90 ECTS credits
  • Teaching language German/English
    (Theory modules are taught in one language)
  • Location Biel and Burgdorf
    Core modules: Zurich
  • School School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering


Focus areas

This degree programme focuses on specific solutions for complex problems encountered in civil engineering. It also gives you the opportunity to acquire in-depth knowledge of project management and business correlations.

What you will gain with your degree

This specialisation focuses on providing broad specialist and practical knowledge for load-bearing structures, timber and composite construction, natural phenomena and geotechnics, hydraulic engineering, built environment and building physics, as well as traffic planning and traffic systems.

A network made up of industry partners, business partners and every Swiss university of applied sciences provides access to highly relevant and up-to-date engineering expertise nationwide.

Focus areas

grafik core competences civil engineering e Enlarge image


You supplement your technical specialisation with your choice of seminars (two-year rotation):

  • Special civil engineering
  • Stone arch bridges
  • Safety of road systems
  • Probabilistic safety concepts
  • Evidence of risks
  • Safety of the road infrastructure
  • Laboratory methods and scientific work

Combining theory and practice in research projects

Lecturing, practical application and research are all closely linked. You can gain experience in the following research fields on the programme:

  • Load-bearing structures
  • Earthquake engineering
  • Fire protection
  • Structural physics
  • Windows, doors and façades
  • Wood construction
  • Built environment and historic preservation
  • Management and market research
  • Digital manufacturing
  • Digital building

Career prospects

As an MSc with a specialisation in Civil Engineering, you deal with the complex issues involved in current and future challenges in civil engineering and communicate the results professionally.
You make an essential, analytical, conceptual and technical contribution to finding innovative solutions, also taking commercial considerations into account. A range of different construction management courses allows you to deepen your knowledge in the field of leadership.

Ready for leadership and expert roles?

Your future field of employment lies in civil engineering: from geotechnics and structural maintenance to tunnel and bridge construction.

Our graduates work in the following fields:

  • Civil Engineer
  • Traffic Systems Engineer
  • Traffic Planning Engineer
  • Geotechnics Engineer
  • Hydraulic Engineer
  • Structural Engineer

Graduation Theses

The “Books” are published every year in autumn. The publications series include the final theses of our bachelor, master and continuing education programmes of the respective year. The Books are a compelling testament to the innovative capacity, commitment and motivation of our graduates.

Duration + content

We offer you flexible arrangements for the Civil Engineering specialisation. The master’s degree programme can be completed full-time or part-time.

Full-time or part-time

The full-time programme lasts at least three semesters. The lectures take place two days per week.
The part-time programme can be completed in four to seven semesters. The lectures take place one day per week. The Master’s degree is no longer divided rigidly into full-time and part-time study. It is up to you to decide each semester whether you would like to study full- or part-time. The only limit is the maximum duration of your course.

Programme schedule

The MSE is a full-time programme divided into three semesters. In the first third of the course, the focus is on theoretical and scientific aspects, and in the final third, with the master’s thesis, on purely practical implementation. In addition to full-time study, the MSE is also offered part-time, the form chosen by the majority of students.

Studienverlauf MSc Engineering - Profil Civil Engineering Enlarge image

Download / Curriculums

The foundation courses are provided jointly by the Swiss universities of applied sciences at the central locations in Lausanne, Zurich and Lugano and comprises three groups of theoretical modules:

•    Technical scientific modules TSM
•    Extended fundamental theoretical principles FTP
•    Context modules CM

The module group abbreviations CM, TSM and FTP refer to the English terms and are used throughout Switzerland. Each module comprises 3 ECTS credits. The basic training earns you 30 ECTS credits in total.


You complete the specialisation at a research unit – usually the BFH institute to which your workplace is assigned. The specialisation course comprises 60 ECTS credits and includes the following components:

  • Various project theses: up to 30 ECTS credits
  • Complementary modules: up to 15 ECTS credits
  • Master’s thesis: 30 ECTS credits

You gain knowledge and experience through challenging projects. With the Master’s thesis, you demonstrate the ability to independently complete a comprehensive piece of work that meets high methodological as well as conceptual and/or scientific standards.

You also learn to present the results verbally and in writing in a clear and professional manner. The practical relevance and currentness of the specialisation projects and the master’s thesis are vital; the projects are geared towards making a significant contribution to a solution.

Complementary modules – courses, seminars or colloquia run by BFH and other MSE partner universities – provide the opportunity to acquire in-depth knowledge in areas that cannot be covered in the main theory modules due to the high degree of specialisation. This training course comprises a total of 12 ECTS credits.

You only have to attend one complementary module (lab course and scientific work). The other courses can be taken as an alternative to projects.

Overview of seminars

Programme Modules

The study programme is modular and consists of three types of modules in the basic training plus EVA complementary modules.

You must complete at least three modules, i.e. 9 ECTS credits.
FTP modules provide long-term knowledge capital and train abstract thinking skills.

Overview of recommended FTP modules:

You must complete at least two modules, i.e. 6 ECTS credits.
The Context modules build knowledge and skills in the non-technical areas of management, communication and culture.

Overview of recommended Context modules:

You only need to attend one complementary module (lab course and scientific work). The other courses can be taken as an alternative to projects.

Overview of courses

Admission requirements

You bring with you a high level of commitment, a good foundation from your Bachelor’s degree programme and a keen motivation to learn about innovative and advanced technologies.

Academic requirements

You will be admitted to the degree programme with:

  • a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Geomatics (major in Construction and Infrastructure) or a comparable bachelor’s degree.
  • at least 60 points in the Grade Point Average (GPA) of the BFH (C grade or overall grade 5.0)
  • an equivalent Swiss or foreign degree with a good to very good academic standard
  • Admission based on your academic background and performance (‘sur dossier’) is the rule

Professional prerequisites

Any one of the following areas of professional experience qualifies you for the Master of Science in Engineering degree programme, Civil Engineering profile, at Bern University of Applied Sciences:

  • Professional experience as a civil engineer
  • Work experience in a technical field of expertise
  • Professional experience in the field of economic expertise

Detailed admission requirements are set out in the Study and Examination Regulations (SPR) for the MSE degree programme.

Supplementary information on admission

A degree in a different discipline can also qualify you for admission to the master’s degree programme. Depending on your educational background, you may be required to earn 9 to 15 ECTS credits by attending courses in the bachelor’s degree programme.
Enrolment in the bachelor courses is possible only once admission to the MSE programme has been granted. Your advisor can be involved in the selection of the bachelor courses.


  • After applying as usual for the MSE course, you first send us your certificates and documents (language certificates in the case of foreign languages).
  • We use these documents to verify your admission to the MSE degree programme (average grades, formal requirements as specified by the study regulations, etc.).
  • We determine bilaterally which subjects are required (depending on your chosen MSE specialisation).
  • The documents are presented to the MSE Approval Commission of the BFH. The commission decides on the admission and on the bachelor courses to be attended.
  • The conditions of admission are set out in a contract. You can start the MSE programme provisionally and take the agreed bachelor modules in parallel. Once the additional conditions have been fulfilled, you are admitted definitively to the MSE course.

German and English (in each case at least Language Level B2)

BFH’s MSE Admissions Committee will carry out an aptitude assessment once the application has been accepted. If necessary, a supplementary interview can be arranged.

If your GPA is only slightly below 60, we can still admit you if you meet the post-qualification worked out individually for you, have relevant professional experience, and can clearly explain your motivation for studying.


Secure your place early.
You can always submit any missing documents later.

Application deadlines

Application deadline

31 December (spring semester)
31 July (autumn semester)

Study start

19 February 2024 (spring semester)
16 September 2024 (autumn semester)

Brief explanation of online application

You can only apply online. Our Online Application Guide explains how it works, step by step.

Online Application Guide

Application documents

You will need to make PDF or JPG copies of the following documents:

Mandatory requirements:

  • ID or passport
  • Passport photo that meets international passport requirements

Other documents (certificates, etc.)

  • Diplomas and university entrance certificates (e.g. vocational baccalaureate/specialised baccalaureate with grades, baccalaureate, Abitur or equivalent, Bachelor certificate for master’s degree programmes)
  • Swiss federal VET diploma with grades
  • Employer references and/or internship certificates
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letter of motivation
  • Additional documents may be required, depending on your educational background

The costs for the programme comprise application, tuition and examination fees plus the cost of course materials and excursions.


At BFH, different fees apply for programmes and examinations.

Application (per application)*

CHF 100


CHF 100

Tuition fees (per semester)

CHF 750

Tuition fees for international students*** (per semester)

CHF 950

Examination fee (per semester)

CHF 80

Fee for social, cultural and sport offerings (per semester)

CHF 24

Membership fee for the Bern University of Applied Sciences Student Association (VSBFH) (per semester)

CHF 15

* plus CHF 10 processing fee if paying by paying-in slip/paper invoice.
** If the application leads to matriculation, the matriculation fee is covered by the application fee.
*** International students are defined as persons of foreign citizenship who at the time of obtaining their university entrance qualification were domiciled under civil law neither in Switzerland nor the Principality of Liechtenstein. This rule applies as of the 2018/19 autumn semester.

Grants, loans and other funding options

Financial aid is available through grants and loans. Grants are one-off or ongoing payments that don’t usually have to be paid back provided you complete your course. Loans are one-off or ongoing payments that must be paid back after you finish your course.

Cantonal grants

Grants and loans for Swiss students and overseas students are generally paid out by the canton where the students’ parents are tax residents.

Students who have been tax residents in the Canton of Bern for at least two years are able to apply for cantonal grants and loans. Applications should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office at the Department of Education.

Further information (incl. financial aid calculator):

The websites, and European Funding Guide cover all the key information about grants in Switzerland and overseas.

Foundations and funds

There are also numerous private foundations and funds that offer financial support to students. The electronic foundation directory administered by the Federal Department of Home Affairs offers a comprehensive summary of these organisations and can be searched by keywords (e.g. student, research, financial aid, etc.). Other sources of funding include the foundation directories for individual cantons and private foundations.

The following foundations offer funding specifically to BFH students and students from other universities:

Advice + information

Still have questions about the programme? The head of the degree programme, lecturers and students will be able to answer your questions at one of our information events.


Choosing a degree programme is an important decision. We will be happy to arrange a face-to-face chat to answer your questions and advise you on the requirements for your chosen programme.

Information event

Visit one of our information events and find out all about the degree programme, the admission requirements and your career prospects. Our students will share their experiences of university life with you.

Locations + facilities

The practical part of your master’s degree (project assignments and master’s thesis) takes place in modern laboratories in Burgdorf and Biel.


The Civil Engineering Division at Bern University of Applied Sciences has one of the richest traditions in Switzerland. Notable features of the study location include the supporting structure and geotechnics laboratory, the road construction laboratory and the convenient size of the campus in Burgdorf.

  • An open access library with a reading room is available to students. The library’s documents are incorporated into the Switzerland-wide NEBIS network (network of libraries and information centres in Switzerland).
  • The facilities can also be used outside of lectures with the BFHcard. 
  • You are issued a personal email address as well as being granted direct access to our Intranet and Wi-Fi network.
  • Parking is available (charges apply). Parking permits are available from the student office if required. However, we recommend using public transport.
  • In Biel we operate the largest research centre in the Swiss timber industry, and in Burgdorf a fully equipped geotechnics laboratory in collaboration with the Institute of Geology at the University of Bern. Most of the tests performed are accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025 by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS). The tests are internationally recognised
  • BFH library 
  • University sport

The MSE master’s degree is a programme run jointly by all Swiss universities of applied sciences. Graduating with the MSE master’s degree means you obtain the highest academic degree available at such a university in Switzerland.

The direction of the degree programme is determined by the profile and structured in detail by the choice of modules and topics with the support of advisors.

Master of Science in Engineering
MSc Engineering BFH - Partner